Vernon D. Fair
Senior Chief Radioman
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Radioman, USS Jerauld (APA 174), USS Ault (698), USS Sagamore (ATA-208), USS LST 1167, USS Monrovia (APA-31), USS Capricornus (AKA-57),

Born in Charity Hospital in Shreveport, Vernon was adopted by Archie Vernon Fair and Corina Griffith Fair. The family lived on DuPont Street. His father passed away when Vernon was three. His adoptive mother followed in death when he was seven. Vernon lived with his maternal grandparents, James Richard Griffith and Mary Griffith. Vernon worked on his grandfather's farm, cut crossties, and picked cotton. He also hunted to supplement the family dining table. He recalls watching soldiers of the blue and red armies of the Louisiana Maneuvers in 1941. "The army is what enlisted me in the navy," he says of witnessing weary soldiers in rugged field conditions. He left high school in November of 1944 to join the Navy when he was 17. His grandmother signed his enlistment papers. After boot camp in San Diego he was sent to Class A Radio School. "I can't type and never seen a radio. But anyway, that's where I wound up," he explains. He completed radio school in May of 1945 and was assigned to the USS Jerauld (APA-174), an amphibious transport. "It was combat loaded for the invasion of Japan," Vernon recalls. When the vessel was en route to Manila, however, Japan surrendered. His ship then went on to Luzon where it loaded elements of 30th Infantry Division, and in a convoy sailed to Japan for occupation. When he went ashore he found the citizens treated him "with courtesy, with greatest respect. You had no trouble out of nobody. Of course, they couldn't speak English and I couldn't speak Japanese," he remembers. He returned to the Philippines where the ship loaded with passengers and sailed to America. The Jerauld made three trips returning veterans to America in Operation Magic Carpet. Aboard ship the passengers were served two meals a day. "They eat breakfast and get back in line to eat supper," he recalls. Vernon was discharged in New Orleans in April of 1946. He went to work on a surveying crew, then finished high school in Grand Cane in June of 1947. He joined the Navy Reserve, then decided to re-enlist in the regular service in September of 1947. He was sent to Norfolk where he was based for the next 26 years in a variety of sea and shore duties, including a two-year stint at the Pentagon encrypting and decrypting messages. Meanwhile he met Hilda Ree McGee at a church while visiting a buddy's family near Zebulon, North Carolina. On November 12, 1948 they married. (They would have five children.) Vernon retired in 1972 as an E-8 and returned to Louisiana. He served on a water board for east DeSoto Parish for 13 years. Soon he ordered a hive of bees from Sears & Roebuck and began working with bees, collecting honey. His son, Randall, went into the bee business in which Vernon assists.